A longer school day will ready pupils for work - Labour

 
Stephen Twigg MP Stephen Twigg says schools can be like factories

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The school day should be lengthened to prepare pupils for work, says Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg.

A longer day could also help stop teenagers joining gangs and be a haven from chaotic homes, he adds.

Speaking at an education conference in Leeds he announced a review of how the classroom could become more relevant to modern work-place.

It will address employers' concerns that a third of school leavers are poorly prepared for work.

The "School to Work" review will be led by Labour MP, Barry Sheerman and follows on from a survey of business leaders who said that while the majority of school leavers were ready to work, around a third were not.

It will take evidence from teachers, parents, businesses and universities and look at international best practice on how to prepare young people for employment.

'Embrace technology'

Mr Twigg told the North of England Education Conference schools that have already brought in extended days, are giving pupils a better perspective of what will be expected of them once they join the work-place.

"A long hours culture has its drawbacks, but how many employers expect their workers to leave the office at 3.30pm?"

He also said that a longer school day could help pupils living in poor housing conditions find a quiet place to study, and persuade others who might be drawn into gangs to stay out of trouble.

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, agreed that extended school hours could improve pupils' prospects.

He said: "Stephen Twigg is absolutely right to call for longer school days. They can raise standards particularly for those children from the poorest backgrounds.

"We welcome his support and look forward to working with him to persuade the teaching unions that they should embrace longer school days."

Mr Twigg also said too many schools were run like 19th Century institutions set up to produce factory workers.

"The workers down tools when they hear the bell ring, and are strictly separated into production lines, focussed on building the constituent parts of knowledge - maths, science etc," he said.

girls with computer Schools should overhaul computer teaching said Mr Twigg

He called for schools to embrace technology as a vital tool of learning and said they should shift from being like factories to become 21st Century hubs of innovation.

He called for an overhaul in Information Communication Technology lessons: "For too many pupils computer teaching can be little more than a glorified typing course", he said.

"Pupils need to have an opportunity to understand the mechanisms and coding behind computer programmes".

He also called for more long term partnerships between schools and local businesses which could provide work experience and careers advice for pupils.

 

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  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 31.

    Mr Twigg is hardly in a good position to lecture young people and parents about their behaviour when you remember his arrest for drunken behaviour a few years ago. I'm fed up of politicians telling families, young people and teachers what they should be doing. Who has run this country into the ground over the last four decades? Yet these same breed of people still pretend to know all...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 30.

    Let's not turn his into a 'teachers don't work hard' debate. Only the truly ignorant believe teachers arrive and leave with the kids. How about a sensible discussion around what school is for, not the Gove / Twigg / Gibb 'it's a factory production line' approach. Preparing for work is a key part, but it's not all schools are for by any means.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 29.

    School was the worst experience in many peoples' memories. The grouping by age, the false society, Life begins once working it is the loss of the saturday jobs that has increased un-preparedness for work., which once pupils start is often a relief.

    An extended school day is a burden not only for the staff but the pupils.

    Deliver individualised learning (BSF) then consider as an option.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 28.

    i had an interest in electronics and computers at school. there are no lessons in electronics. so i had to self-learn. 1 of the teachers was an ex-engineer who regularly stayed behind out of his own free will to help & teach me other aspects of engineering. sometimes it was just me on my own. i owe those teachers a debt of gratitude. the gov should stop interfering & let schools choose curriculums

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 27.

    @John. You have no clue about a teacher's working day have you? I spent 7 years as an ICT teacher. 8:30 - 3:30 teaching then you have to do form group admin. or go to a meeting, twilight inset etc. this usually takes you to 5:30 - 6:00. In the evening you usually plan/mark until 9 or 10. Oh by the way Sunday? Ask any teacher, it's just another working day. Know your facts before you comment!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 26.

    As a teacher I would not object to longer hours at school as long as my hours of work done at home were reduced so that I was only doing the same total number of hours of work per week and pupils didn't take work home (which would exclude parents from learning, not great!) However I teach 5 year olds and some of them are exhausted by the end of the school week as it currently stands. Have a heart!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 25.

    Is this how Mr Twigg sees education - a factory to churn them out, all looking, sounding and thinking the same?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 24.

    although I impart agree with the fact it will keep some of the streets, this does mean that teachers will have even more work then they have already. Yes children come in between 8.30 and 9am and leave around 3.....that doesn't mean us teachers do. I get into work at 7.30 and don't leave until 5pm and continue working whilst at home for a couple of hours!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 23.

    @16. john. you obviously think teachers go home & put their feet up at 3:30pm when the final bell rings. that's rather ignorant. most teachers i know spend many hours out of school working. some are even still at school past 6pm. i know when i was at school teachers regularly stayed behind for pupils like myself who get involved with extra-curricular activities such as electronics/engineering..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 22.

    And another thing - as well as proposing that teachers work in excess of 60 hours a week, we're also expecting them to work until they are 67 (although by the time some of our youngest teachers get to that age the retirement age will probably have been increased several more times).

    Don't even get started on the topic of school breaks - which surely need cutting to a fortnight plus bank holidays!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 21.

    This is truly dreadful. I can understand that it's a reasonable measure for kids from the worst homes. But we can't make policy decisions for everyone on that basis. Why don't people in power trust parents to do their job? Why do they want institutions to be parents instead? People function best in families. We need to remember that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    Prepare them for what work exactly?

    The majority have nothing to aim for precisely because there's nothing to aim for.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 19.

    The school day could be extended for some, for example year 11 in the run up to their GCSEs, this would give them the experience of working hours at an age where they should be able to cope with a longer day. This could take the form of independent study or revision sessions rather than additional lessons. Pupils would gain independent working skills, necessary for further education and work.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 18.

    @16.John

    "What? and have the teachers work full day like the rest of us."

    Teachers do work outside the school day, preparing lessons, marking books and admin tasks. We do it in evenings (not all of them), very often on Sundays and frequently in holidays. Quite a few people find their work stretches beyond the 'working day', teachers are in that group.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    Gangs are the result of a society where men are judged purely on power, status and earning potential and being a decent, hard working man is seen as a sign of weakness (unless by working you earn loads of money of course). This country is rotten to the core from bankers right down to drug dealers on the street it's everyone for themselves and stuff everyone else.

    Welcome to 21st century Britain.

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 16.

    What? and have the teachers work full day like the rest of us.

    In reality the teachers will stop this even if it is a good idea - it's just not worth the trouble the unions will cause.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 15.

    whilst i agree somewhat, it will put a strain on teachers & pupils aswell. extended school hours will not prepare kids for work. what will prepare pupils for work is better education, more practical assignments, teaching them 'How to think for themselves' instead of 'what to think'. more work orientated courses as opposed to teaching them something they will have no use for after they leave school

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 14.

    Leave the poor kids alone. They already have four or five times the amount of homework than I did when I was at school.

    Part of being a child (and they are still children as teenagers) is to have time to socialise and play. They are not just machines to work all the time. They've got the rest of their lives to be ground down. Let them be kids until then.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 13.

    And when teachers are then working close to seventy hours a week how much time and energy will they then have for their own children at home? Oh, I forgot - one of the arguments is that we don't now want children to be at home with their families...

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 12.

    Longer days for pupils would also mean longer days for the already over-worked teachers. My wife used to be a primary school teacher and the mountain of paperwork she had to deal with was never ending. Giving teachers more work would increase the numbers leaving the profession which would result in lower quality lessons. The whole proposal would be counter productive.

 

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